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A CHRONOLOGY OF THE MILITARY ORDER OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR

November 1095  

Pope Urban II, launches the first Crusade at the Council of Clermont (Auvergne).

July 1099  

Jerusalem is conquered. During the following years, most of the pilgrims will take the road from Jaffa (on the Mediterranean coast) to Jerusalem, often getting attacked on the way.

1119  

A few knights including Hugo de Payns, a vassal of the count of Champagne, and Godefroy de St-Omer, a vassal of the count of Boulogne, ask Gormond, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and King Baldwin II the right to create the "Militia of the Poor Knights of Christ", to protect the pilgrims on the roads leading to the Holy city. The Militia accepts the guidance of the canons of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and is under the Rule of St Augustine.

1120  

King Baldwin II gives the Order the al-Aqsa mosque as living headquarters. Since it is close to the temple of Salomon, the name of the Order quickly becomes the "Military Order of the Knights of the Temple of Salomon", or in short, Knights Templar, or Templars.

1125  

Hugo, count of Champagne, joins the Order.

1127  

Hugo of Payns and five Templars go back to Europe.

October 1127  

One of the very first land donations to the Order, is made by Theobald, count of Champagne, nephew of count Hugo.

1128  

Hugo of Payns goes on a recruiting tour through western France and England. During that time, other Templars recruit through southern France and through Catalonia (Spain). The Lords of St-Omer make their first donation to the Order in Flanders and the Templars also receive their first donation in Portugal: the castle of Soure.

January 1129  

At the council of Troyes (Champagne), and under king Baldwin's request, St Bernard of Clairvaux gives a rule to the Order. The rule specifies that the Templars should wear a white mantle, like the Cistercians.

1129  

Hugo of Payns and over 300 just newly recruited Templars embark from Marseille (Provence) to the Holy Land. The same year, the Templars are first seen in battle, participating in the siege of Damas (Syria).

1130-1140  

The first Templar Commanderies are established in France through land donations. They are populated by knights (from small or medium nobility), sergeants, chaplains, and workers (farmers and craftsmen). The main duty of a Commandery is to send men, horses and supplies to the Order in the Holy Land.

1131  

Alfonso I, king of Aragon, donates one third of his kingdom to the Order. The same year, the Templars will also acquire their first castle at Baghras (Syria).

1134  

The first Commandery of Italy is created in Milan. Others will follow after 1160.

1135  

The Order starts lending money to Spanish pilgrims who want to travel to the Holy Land. The Templars will quickly become the bankers of the western world, securing pilgrim's money in deposit boxes, providing checking accounts and financial services through the Templar network at both ends of the Mediterranean. Even kings Louis VII and Philippe IV of France, and Edward I of England will borrow considerable funds from the Templars.

1137  

Queen Matilda makes the first land donation to the Order in England, the basis for the first Templar Preceptory at Cressing Temple. Between 1138 and 1154, numerous donations will follow during the reign of king Stephen (brother of Theobald, count of Champagne), establishing new Preceptories in London and through the rest of England. The Order will be exempted from royal taxes on the land.

March 1139  

A papal bull by Innocent II, Omne Datum Optimum, places the Order under the only authority and protection of the Pope. The text specifies that the Order can elect its Grand Master and have its own priests. It also exempts the Order from church taxes.

1143  

The king of Aragon donates one-fifth of the Spanish lands conquered from the Muslims to the Order. April 1145: a papal bull by Eugenius III, Militia Dei, allows the Order to have its own churches and cemeteries.

March 1146  

St Bernard preaches the second Crusade.

April 1147  

Pope Eugenius III allows the Templars to wear a red pattee cross on the left shoulder of their mantle. Among the army led by Louis VII, king of France, a strong group of Templars leaves for the second crusade. The Grand Master of the Order, Evrard des Barres, negotiates to allow the troops to go through Constantinople.

August 1153  

Ascalon (Palestine) is conquered. Following their Grand Master, Bernard de Tremolay, a group of 40 Templars are the first to fight their way into the city.

1160  

In Aragon (Spain), the Templars start spreading a sophisticated technology of irrigation still in use today.

1167  

The Templars help negotiate a treaty which transforms Egypt into a protectorate of Jerusalem; several times, the Templars will be the witnesses or the negotiating ambassadors of political agreements.

1168  

The king of Jerusalem, Amaury, and the Order of the Hospitallers decide to conquer Egypt. The Templars refuse to participate. The campaign fails. Saladin enters Cairo.

1177  

King Baldwin IV, with a small troop and 80 Templars, routs Saladin's army at Montgisard.

1179  

Saladin attacks the royal troops of the kingdom at Beaufort (Galilee) and captures the Grand Master of the Order, Eudes de St-Amand.

July 1186  

Baldwin IV dies; the Grand Master of the Order, Gerard de Ridefort, by personal vengeance, manoeuvres to prevent Raymond of Tripoli to become regent, and creates a coup d'etat by promoting Guy de Lusignan as the new king of Jerusalem.

July 1187  

Heading the largest Muslim army ever, Saladin puts Tiberiade (Galilee) under siege. Raymond de Tripoli and most of the royal troops are two days away. Raymond recommends not to attack and to stay there. During the night, Gerard de Ridefort convinces the king to move the army against Saladin. Two days later, near the mountain called the Horns of Hattin, the royal army is decimated. More than two hundred Templars are captured by Saladin and tortured.

October 1187  

Jerusalem is under siege and capitulates. The Templars give money to Saladin to buy the freedom of a large number of citizens and nobles. They all flee to Tyre.

December 1187  

Saladin puts Tyre under siege and then gives up. The kingdom of Jerusalem survives.

1190  

King Philippe II of France, while on crusade, asks that royal tax money be guarded by the Order in Paris. Kings Henry II and III of England will entrust their royal finances to the Templars, so will do king Louis IX and Philippe IV of France, and king Jaime I of Aragon.

July 1191  

At the beginning of the third Crusade, Philippe II, king of France, and Richard I, king of England, put Acre (Galilee) under siege and conquers it. The Templars headquarters are established in Acre. King Richard gets help from the Templars to re conquer coastal cities.

April 1207  

Lombard merchants mention coming back from a pilgrimage on a Templar ship. The ships of the Order carry several thousand pilgrims to the Holy Land every year.

1216  

The town of Marseille allows the Order to build and maintain its own ships for travelling to the Holy Land and Spain.

1225  

The Hohenstaufen dynasty of Sicily receives the crown of Jerusalem. The kings don't reside in the Holy Land though, and the power is assumed by an oligarchy which the Templars are part of.

1228  

The Templars help Alfonso II of Aragon to re conquer Majorca and Valencia (1238) from the Muslims.

1229  

Frederick II of Hohenstaufen is excommunicated by the Pope. Before being crowned as king of Jerusalem, he fails to invade Chateau Pelerin, a Templar fortress. He then attacks the Templar headquarters in Acre. It creates a division between the Hospitallers, who favour Frederick, and the Templars who remain faithful to the Pope.

July 1231  

King Jaime I allows the Templars to repopulate regions of Spain as Moorish peasants are expelled by the military re conquest of the land.

April 1250  

King Louis IX of France, against the advice of the Templars, tries to invade Egypt. At Damietta, Louis IX is captured by the Muslims.

1274  

The Pope holds a council in Lyon (France). The idea of merging the Templars with the Hospitallers into a single Order is discussed. The king of Aragon, Jaime I, strongly refuses. The idea will be discussed again at the council of Arles in 1292.

1288  

The Templars promote town autonomy in the French Pyrenees by giving Montsaunes a charter of independence.

May 1291  

The Grand Master of the Order, Guillaume de Beaujeu, dies in combat trying to contain the Mamluks who just breached a wall at Acre. The city falls into the hands of al-Malek-al-Ashraf.

August 1291  

Chateau-Pelerin, the last Templar fortress of the Holy Land is abandoned. The Order flees to Cyprus.

1305  

In front of king Jaime II of Aragon, a former Templar prior, Esquieu de Floyran, condemned by the Grand Master for being a heretic, accuses the whole Order of heresy. The king doesn't believe him.

1306  

King Philippe IV of France asks a commission of royal advisors, including Guillaume de Nogaret and Guillaume de Plaisians, to investigate the affair.

1307  

The Grand Master of the Order, Jacques de Molay, is asked by the Pope, Clement V, to come back to France to share his opinion about planning for another crusade.

August 1307  

Not convinced by Philippe IV's accusations against the Order, the Pope opens his own investigation, to try to clear the Templars.

13th October 1307  

An arrest warrant, sent several days earlier by king Philippe IV, is executed by the royal police: Jacques de Molay and more than 600 Templars are arrested throughout France. Only a few Templars are able to flee.

16th October 1307  

King Philippe IV writes to the other kings of Europe to ask them to arrest the Templars in their own countries; king Edward II of England and king Jaime II of Aragon refuse and protest.

October 1307  

Most of the arrested Templars, including the Preceptor of Normandy and the Master of France, are either threatened or tortured, and forced to recognize the different charges of heresy that they are accused of. Some of them don't give in though.

November 1307  

In an attempt to control the situation, the Pope Clement V issues the bull Pastoralis Praeminentiae, asking for the arrest of the Templars and for their possessions to be confiscated by the Church.

December 1307  

An arrest warrant is issued in Aragon by the king. The Templars lock themselves up in their Aragonese castles and resist; they will capitulate only after many months of siege by king Jaime II.

1308  

The Templars are arrested in England and Ireland. It will take a second papal bull by Clement V later that year, for the Templars to be arrested in Portugal. They will be arrested in Germany during the summer of 1308.

August 1308  

Under the pressure of Philippe IV and of his advisors, Clement V issues the papal bull Facians Misericordium, allowing provincial church councils to judge the Templars and giving him, the Pope, the right to judge the highest dignitaries of the Order.

January 1310  

The council of Lisbon (Portugal) declares the Templars not guilty.

May 1310  

Fifty-four Templars are burnt alive in Paris. During the following days, similar events will take place through the rest of France.

March 1312  

At the Council of Vienna, and under the pressure of king Philippe IV, the Pope issues the bull Vox in Excelsior, abolishing the Order. A second papal bull, Consider antes Dudum, states that the Order is guilty of heresy; only those who recognize it will be freed. A third bull, Ad Providam, distributes the possessions of the Templars to the Order of the Hospitallers.

March 1314  

After pleading not guilty, the Grand Master of the Order, Jacques de Molay, and the Preceptor of Normandy, Godefroy de Charney, are burnt alive on a small island, on the Seine river in Paris.

June 1317  

A papal bull allows king Jaime II of Aragon to create the Order of Montessa, to administer the possessions of the Templars. Knights of the already existing Order of Calatrava will be in charge of the new Order. Some Templars will be allowed to join the Order of Montessa.

March 1319  

The Pope, Jean XXII, authorizes the king of Portugal to create a new Order, the "Militia of Jesus Christ", to administer the possessions of the Templars in Portugal. Most of the members are Templars. Tomar will become the headquarters of the Militia in 1356. After 1415, the sons of the king will become the administrators of the Militia: the first one will be Don Henrique the Navigator. In 1551, the Militia will be united with the other two Portuguese national military orders: Sao Tiago and Avis.

Bibliography

Vie et Mort de l'Ordre du Temple, Alain Demurger, Pub: Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1989

Cressing Temple, A Templar and Hospitaller Manor in Essex, D.D. Andrews, Pub: Essex County Council Planning, 1993

The Monks of War - The Military Religious Orders, Desmond Seward, Pub: Penguin Books, New York, 1995

The Templars Knights of God, Edward Burman, Pub: Destiny Books, Rochester, 1986

Le Dossier de l'Affaire des Templiers, Georges Lizerand, Pub: Societe d'Edition Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1964

Les Aveux des Templiers, Giorgio Perrini, Pub: Jean de Bonnot, Paris, 1992

Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights, Helen Nicholson, Pub: Leicester University Press, London, 1995

Les Templiers - Ces Inconnus, Laurent Dailliez, Pub: Librairie Academique Perrin, Paris, 1972

The New Knighthood, Malcom Barber, Pub: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994

The Trial of the Templars, Malcom Barber, Pub: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995

Cartulaire General de l'Ordre du Temple, Marquis d'Albon, Pub: Librairie Honore Champion, Paris, 1913